Is a Personal Trainer Worth It?
How A Personal Trainer Can Help You Get The Most Out Of Your Gym Membership
Paying for a personal trainer, in addition to the not-so-cheap gym membership, hangs quite a heavy doubt in front of most first timers, i.e., Do I really need a personal trainer? Or it might be the frightening image in your head of a hulk of a man shouting behind you as you collapse under a ton of weight. Well, that one might just be the movies influencing you. If you ask me honestly, then yes, unless you got expertise yourself, you probably need a personal trainer.
Before you cast aside my opinion as biased, since I’m a personal trainer myself, let me give you the observations of a well-reputed organisation from the field. According to the International Health and Fitness Association, approximately, about 75% of gym goers do not get the results they expect. Among the 25% who do get the results they want, almost 90% have a personal trainer guiding them. My guess is that you too want the results you’re looking for, right?
It is a personal trainers job too, first set realistic goals for you, and then, see to it that you reach them. This is done by understanding your body’s current state, and from that, figuring out what it needs. This helps in creating a customised workout routine that is tailored to give you the best result possible.
That does not mean, however, that all personal trainers are equally good. There are definitely quite a few bad ones out there, one who aims to rip off some additional money from you. My article on 7 red flags of a bad personal trainer is meant to highlight just that. That is why it is important that you yourself know how to spot a good personal trainer and what to expect from him or her.
If you’re unsure about whether you need a personal trainer, let’s first go through a quick checklist that will help make the decision easier.
You Need A Personal Trainer If…
- You’re new to the gym and are unsure about where to start or how to use the equipment correctly
- You’re losing enthusiasm repeating the same workout routine
- Lack of enthusiasm has reduced your motivation levels and you’ve begun slacking
- You’re not getting the results you expected
- Your workout routine has led to some injury
- You have a pre-existing injury or a medical condition that can be aggravated due to improper workout
If any of the above checklist, especially the last three, holds true for you, then you should definitely consider getting a personal trainer to put you back on the right track.
Assuming now, that you’ve decided to get a personal trainer, the question is, how to spot a good one, and what to expect from him or her?
5 Priorities To Keep In Mind When Choosing A Personal Trainer
Personal Trainer Priority #1: The Right Qualification Is Of The Utmost Importance
The most basic way to gauge whether the instructed is qualified is to check for certifications from reputed fitness & personal training institutes.
Further to that, you should also inquire if the instructed has enough experience, specifically in regard to your workout goals. For example, if you’re an athlete training to improve performance or a bodybuilder, then you should look for a personal trainer who has experience in those specific areas.
Similarly, if you have any medical condition or injury (such as heart issues, pregnancy etc), then again you need someone who has enough experience and is knowledgeable in that area. Such qualifications and knowledge of the personal trainer will ensure you avoid any injuries and get the most out of your workouts.
Personal Trainer Priority #2: He’s An Ass, If He Does Not Asses First!
The very first step that any personal trainer worth his salt will take is to conduct a detailed assessment of a new client. Before the personal trainer can plan out and begin your workout sessions to help you reach your goals, he first needs to know where you stand!
The amount and type of training that will most effective for you is relative to what the current state of the body is. It is important to understand the body composition, i.e. how much of it is fat, and how much muscle. This helps the trainer to calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate) which tells how many calories are burnt by the body to maintain its current state, at rest.
The next thing the trainer should asses is your level of mobility and movements. This can be done using FMS (functional movement screening). As a result of our sedentary lifestyles, we tend to sit down a lot and generally lack a lot of movement. This over time leads to incorrect postures and balance problems in the body. With the help of the FMS assessment, the trainer will be aware of such shortcomings and can accordingly incorporate correctional exercises into your workout routine.
If you have a high budget, then you can also go for further blood tests and even a complete hormone test using the ‘Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones’. The result of these tests gives the personal trainer a clear insight into how much fat the body burns etc. Although this last part is a bit fancy, the first two assessments, i.e. BMR and FMS, are basic ones that you should expect from any decent personal instructor. Although it might not seem much, these basic assessments can help the personal trainer to ensure you have the correct workout routine chalked out for you and to avoid any possible injuries.
Personal Trainer Priority #3: Understanding Your Requirements Is Needed To Set Proper Goals
One of the fine qualities of good personal trainers is that they are also good listeners. Because really, how can you understand someone else’s needs and goals, without clearly listening to them?
With the help of the initial assessment and by listening to you closely, the personal trainer has a clear picture of where you are and where you need to reach, thereby charting the most effective workout routine for you.
Personal Trainer Priority #4: Does The Trainer Keep A Detailed Track Of Your Progress?
Now that the personal trainer has the results of your initial assessment and understands your goals, they will prepare a customised workout routine meant that is best suited for you. Here is where one of the most important duties of a good personal trainer comes into play, and that is – keeping track of your progress! Literally, for every workout you do, the personal trainer should have a clipboard with your personal file, nothing down details such as no. of reps, the weights etc.
Monitoring your progress so closely helps to spot errors or anything else lacking in your workout. For example, a good personal trainer will ensure you are making use of all 3 Planes Of Motion. Keeping track also helps to know of whether you are moving in the right direction, i.e. towards your goals. Based on your level and speed of progress the trainer will make adjustments accordingly. In this way, keeping track helps you to reach your goals much faster and much more efficiently.
Personal Trainer Priority #5: The Trainer Must Look Inspiring & Be Able To Motivate
Well, this one might sound a bit cliched, but does your personal trainer have to look the part? That’s a big fat YES! Because, apart from being well qualified and assisting you with your workouts, the personal trainer also has to be a big source of inspiration and motivation for you.
Sure, they do not always need to be some sort of a hulk. Most personal trainers will have some specialization or at least specific fields of interest, and their body should be well defined as per these specifics. So a personal trainer into sports will have a leaner body than the one into bodybuilding. And you should the one that resonates with you the most.
So, that should cover the inspiration part. What about motivation? Over time motivation is a very crucial factor determining your rate of progress. Lack of it might also lead you to quit the job altogether. That is where a good personal trainer will step in and help raise your motivation level. And only the trainer who is energetic and enthusiastic about helping you reach your goals will be able to motivate you sufficiently.
Joining the gym is just half the battle. And no big wars are ever won, without the right kind of support system in place. Without a proper support system in place, you are susceptible to injuries and also to the various myths that flood the health & fitness sector. Although I try to debunk myths such as Spot Reduction whenever possible, on my website Krix Luther, there are some mistakes that can only be spotted while it’s happening. When it comes to working out, a good personal trainer makes for a great support system, because they are keeping a close eye on you, looking out for any mistakes. Keeping in mind all the points mentioned above will help ensure you choose a personal trainer that is perfect for you and helps you reach your fitness goals. Thus, you end up making the best use of your time, and that is how a personal trainer helps you get the most out of your gym membership.
If you have any doubts regarding choosing a personal trainer then ask away using the comment section below, or get in touch with me directly. I am more than happy to help you out!